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From Expected to Effective : Strategies to assess and modify communication efforts that support partnerships with families. Presented by Pamdora Williams LaSPDG Staff. @ laspdg. Considerations.

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Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

From Expected to Effective: Strategies to assess and modify communication efforts that support partnerships with families

Presented by Pamdora Williams

LaSPDG Staff




  • This webinar is being recorded and will be available for viewing at www.laspdg.orgunder

    Family Engagement Webinars 2013-2014

  • If you need to ask a question, please use the Chat Pod on your screen (NOTE: everyone can see your question)

  • You can download all of today’s materials in the FILES 2 Pod on your screen at any time during the presentation

    • Click on the selected file

    • Choose “SAVE TO MY COMPUTER”

    • Select the destination where you would like to save the file

Roll call

Roll Call

  • If you have not already done so, please use your chat pod and type your district/LEA that you are representing

  • If multiple people are in the room with you viewing this webinar, please type their names as well

People first language

People First Language

“People First Language puts the person before the disability and describes what a person has, not who a person is.”

Kathie Snow. (n.d.) A few words about People First Language. Disability is Natural. Retrieved August 1, 2012 from

Family engagement new perspectives new definition

Family Engagement: New Perspectives, New Definition

The research is abundantly clear: nothing motivates a child more than when learning is valued by schools and families/community working together in partnership…These forms of [parent] involvement do not happen by accident or even by invitation. They happen by explicit strategic intervention”

-Michael Fullan (1997 a, pp.42-43)

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Shifts in Perceptions about Family Engagement

Current Lens



One-Time Project


Shared Responsibility

Random Acts






Ownership & Continuous Improvement


Events Driven

Outcome Driven

Individual Responsibility

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Se a r c h

family engagement – transformation definition

Web Search

I’m Feeling Lucky

Family Engagement Transformation Definition

Family engagement is a shared responsibility of families, schools and communities for student learning and achievement; it is continuous from birth to young adulthood; and it occurs across multiple settings where children learn.

Family Engagement definition

A well thought out process involving the entire school community, NOT a series of eventsto involve families….

Family Engagement definition

Family Engagement is the interaction between schools and families and the degree to which families are engaged in the educational lives of their children.

  • Family Engagement definition


  • A set of day-to-day practices, attitudes, beliefs and interactions that support learning at home as well as at school, NOT a one-time program

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Family Engagement


Stating a Case for Investing in Strategic Home - School Communication


Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Parent/Teacher Conferences

New Discipline Procedures

Conversations in the community


School diversity


Anti-Bullying Policies



Notes home


Formal & Informal Communication

Crisis Response

Open House

Grades & Student Progress

Achievement Gaps

Back-to-School Night



Conversations during arrival and dismissal

Conversations in the office lobby

Emails and text messages

School Calendar

School Websites


Goal objectives

Goal & Objectives


Identify effective strategies to assess and modify communication efforts with families


  • Gain knowledge of the components of an effective communication plan for families

  • Gain knowledge of strategies and resources in order to assess and modify current communication efforts with families

    Also, tools, resources & promising practices to support your work!

What is communication

What is Communication?

Communication is a message sent and a message received

  • When communicating messages about school programs and student progress, ensure that the communication:

  • is two-way

  • is multi-layered

  • uses multiple channels

  • connects schools, families, students and the community.

  • is an ongoing process

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff


Which is the largest contributor to the communication gap for your families?

  • Work schedule

  • Child Care

  • Language

  • Do not understand the system

  • Negative past experiences with schools

Contributors to communication gap

Contributors to Communication Gap


  • Work schedule

  • Transportation

  • Child care

  • Language barriers

  • School viewed as an unwelcoming place

  • Lack of outreach

  • Not understanding the system

Contributors to communication gap1

Contributors to Communication Gap


  • Teacher time limitations

  • Negative stereotypes

  • Lack of teacher preparation

Benefits of school home communication

Benefits of school-home communication

  • Increases trust between schools and families

  • Encourages higher and realistic parental expectations

  • Serves as the foundation to other types of family engagement

  • Leads to higher degree of family commitment

  • Puts everyone on the “same page”

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

“We have always maintained that you never see our best work: it is what we do ahead of time to prevent the firestorm.

Use good communication to keep yourself out of trouble, so you don’t have to use it to mop up the mess!”

Why School Communication Matters, pg. 59

A communication plan

Strategy 1

A Communication Plan

What is a communication plan

What is a communication plan?

A communication plan is a framework of goals, strategies and activities.

Schools/districts would use a communication plan when it’s time to disseminate information about a program or procedures and/or influence the behavior/practices of families and community on the behalf of the school.

A communication plan can

A communication plan can….

  • Be simple or complex

  • Be a road map

  • Help anticipate and solve for problems

Is communication planning necessary

Is communication planning necessary?

  • Helps to identify and close any communication gaps

  • Keeps families on the same page and knowledgeable

  • Improves transparency

Elements of a communication plan

Elements of a Communication Plan

Four areas to addressin a plan

  • Topic & Frequency

  • Various Approaches

  • Two-Way/Feedback

  • Analysis & Evaluation

Communication planning

Communication Planning

Written communication


Written Communication

  • Includes important information

  • Is clear and detailed

  • Standard written language

  • Invites response and feedback

Verbal communication


Verbal Communication

  • Instructing

  • Following up

  • Asking for help

  • Revealing

  • Informally exchanging

  • Active Listening

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Varied Approaches

Home visits, “each one, take one”, communication

system that fits the families’ needs

Intensive Strategies

(for some students and families)

Individual conferences as needed, written communications addressing specific concerns, communication in families everyday language,…

Selective Strategies

Teachers plan for all families

Newsletters, website, parent teacher conferences, grade book

Universal Strategies

Two way communication


Two-Way Communication

  • Feedback loop makes communication two-way

  • Feedback and response system should be embedded in communication efforts

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Feedback from families…

“We appreciate knowing that there are adequate opportunities for us to express our concerns and opinionsabout important issues impacting school.”

“Whenever I express my concerns and opinions, I know that they are seriously consideredby school and district leaders.”

Reminders about two way communication


Reminders about two-way Communication

  • Be consistent

  • Multiple opportunities to contact and/or respond

  • Consideration given to feedbackand possible adjustments made

  • Two-way communication honors family opinions, builds trust, and invites family partnerships!

Let s chat

Let’s Chat!

Using the Chat Pod…

share how you think the following written communication could be transformed from expected to effective?

Are your famlies fluent in education ese

Are your famlies fluent in “Education-ese”?

“At Child-First Elementary, we hold attendance and punctuality to class as a fundamental priority in providing a sound educational experience for all inhabitants of our school. The OAT is responsible for processing all attendance and tardiness issues. Students parents, and guardians are responsible for directing such issues to OAT. Both habitual and unusual or catastrophic circumstances can all be effectively monitored and processed through OAT….”

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

POLL:Are your families aware of ways they can support their child at home?

Yes or No

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Helpful Resources and Tools

  • Common Core Road Maps for Families

  • Communication Planning Template

  • Written Communication Rubric

  • Quick Tips: Verbal and Electronic Communication

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Use a planning framework for communicating almost any topic with families!


Strategy 2: Assess Families’ Perceptions & Preferences About Communication


Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

Will be discussed during February 5, 2014 webinar

You are here

You Are Here!!!

Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff


  • On three levels of communication:

    • School building to home

    • Classroom to home

    • School district to community

  • On communication content, delivery systems, and frequency of communication

Assessing communication

Assessing Communication

Assessing communication efforts will:

  • measure effectiveness of communicationefforts

  • provide information about families’ perceptions and feelings

  • Serve as a baseline for developing a communication plan

  • Protect against attitudes of complacency

Communication survey

Communication Survey

A communication survey can address

A communication survey can address…

  • The school’s current communication patterns

    • Overall effectiveness

    • Opportunities to make-up for parents who didn’t attend an event

    • Enough support for support child with academics

    • Timeliness of notification

    • Adequate ways to give feedback

    • A person to contact for questions

  • The families’ communication preferences

    • Preferred methods of communicating information

    • Suggestions for improvement

  • Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff


    Which is the preferred method of communication according to families?

    • Newsletters

    • Social media

    • Parent portal

    • Email from the school/district

    • Phone calls

    Parents preferred methods of communication

    Parents’ preferred methods of communication

    How parents want to communicate with school

    Increasing Preference

    Increasing Preference

    Consider results f rom existing surveys to families

    Consider Results From Existing Surveys to Families


    • Title One parent survey

    • Survey during district/school accreditation process

    • State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 8 survey

    • Event evaluation survey

      Communicate feedback with the stakeholders!

    Other ways to assess perceptions

    Other ways to assess perceptions

    • Organize feedback forums

    • Administer a quick communication survey after a workshop or meeting

    • Generate a survey using Survey Monkey (

    Helpful tools and practices http www laspdg org content cfm id 418

    Helpful Tools and Practices!

    • Survey Toolkit:

    • assess 4 domains

    • 3 Surveys

    • scoring guide

    • promising practices

    To view example questions/stems visit


    Strategy 3: Modify Existing Communication Structures


    Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

    Not Harder

    Work Smarter

    • Link to student learning

    • Individualized

    • Two way

    • Incorporate follow-up

    Open house or conferences to conversations about learning

    Open House or Conferences to Conversations about Learning

    Example sharing data with families

    Example: Sharing data with families


    Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

    Obtain Feedback

    School newsletter to newsletter with request for feedback

    School Newsletter to Newsletter with request for feedback

    Parent workshop to parent and child time pact

    Parent Workshopto Parent and Child Time [PACT]

    School website to website with family friendly zones

    School website toWebsite with family friendly zones

    Title one compacts to compacts linked to school goals

    Title One CompactstoCompacts linked to school goals

    Helpful resources and tools http www laspdg org content cfm id 308 schoolyearid 5

    Helpful Resources and Tools

    • Parent Teacher Conversations about Learning Protocol

    • Example Compact and quick tips

    Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff


    Will be discussed during February 5, 2014 webinar

    Is communication planning necessary for building partnerships

    Is communication planning necessary for building partnerships?

    A parent responds…..

    Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff



    Family Engagement Webinars on Demand !!!

    Getting your school organized for Family and Community Engagement [FACE] _ Series

    Let's FACE It! Part 1

    Let's FACE It! Part 2

    Engaging Families of Elementary Students

    Engaging Families of Middle & High School Students

    Enhancing Partnerships with Families

    Anne Henderson: Let's Go Beyond The Bake Sale

    Communication with Families

    Building Home-School Partnerships

    Making Student and School Data Accessible and Meaningful to Families

    Using Technology to Improve Academic Success

    Language Used in the Homes

    My Dialect, My Identity

    Dialect or Disorder

    Virtual bookshelf http www laspdg org content cfm id 198

    Virtual bookshelf

    Building capacity

    Building Capacity

    • When you leave today, what will you do with this information?

    • How will you share it with others in your district?

    • When will you share it? (Timeline)

      Note: If you are on the district leadership team, this information will be useful in completing your district’s LASPDG 5 Year Plan



    • Please use your chat pod if you have questions related to this presentation

    • After this webinar, you may email questions to Pamdora Williams

    Presented by pamdora williams laspdg staff

    The contents of this PowerPoint presentation were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H323A110003. However those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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